Pokémon Go Adds New Dimension to Distracted Driving Risk
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Pokémon Go Adds New Dimension to Distracted Driving Risk

Car accidentPokémon Go quickly skyrocketed to popularity after the app was introduced in July. Unfortunately, along with the frequent play comes a significant increased risk in distracted driving accidents. Now, researchers out of San Diego State University have compiled data that shows the introduction of the popular app did indeed bring an uptick in traffic accidents as well.

Social media, news scrutinized

The new research, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, used news items and social media to compile data on Pokémon-related accidents during the early days of the mobile game. Researchers found that between July 10 and July 20, when the game was first introduced, there were 14 reported crashes that appeared to involve Pokémon Go play.

The study also discovered more than 4,000 tweets during that same time frame that specifically referred to playing the game while driving. Some of those tweets included screenshots of the individuals playing the game while driving. Once the data was collected, researchers used special calculations to bring those figures in line with population numbers. They estimated that as many as 113,993 tweets were sent by people playing the game during that 10-day time frame.

About Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is a mobile app that encourages players to get outside and search out 151 Pokémon based on the card game from the 1990s. The game was first touted as a way to get players away from their gaming systems at home, walking their way to the rewards of the new game. However, it was soon realized that players became too engrossed in their game in some cases to take their personal safety or the safety of those around them into account.

Pokémon Go is geared to players between the ages of 16 and 24. The American Automobile Association has also said motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among this age group. Adding to the potential distraction does not seem like a positive way to bring down these statistics, according to some that are concerned about the distraction Pokémon Go can cause.

The researchers in this study also make note of the fact that the mobile game could be made safer by the manufacturer. They suggest making the game completely inaccessible after a certain driving speed has been reached and disabling the game near streets or parking lots. The game does currently carry warnings when users first launch the app about the dangers of playing the game while driving. The app also asks the player whether they are a driver or a passenger once the vehicle is going faster than 10 miles per hour.

While these steps are positive, researchers say they may not go far enough in preventing the potential consequences of Pokémon Go distractions. While the popularity of the game has slowed somewhat since July, distracted driving due to Pokémon Go is still a major concern for city, state and national officials.

Legal help in Pokémon Go car accidents

If you are the victim of an accident involving distracted driving while playing Pokemon Go, you may be entitled to legal recourse for your injuries and potential property damage. However, you will need qualified legal help to assist you in navigating the complexities of the legal system while preparing your case.

The professional team at The Sanders Firm has ample experience working in all types of distracted driving accidents, including those involving the popular mobile game. To learn more, contact us today at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY for a free case evaluation and answers to all of your legal questions.


  1. JAMA Internal Medicine, Pokémon Go – A New Distraction for Drivers and Pedestrians, http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2553331

  2. KRQE News 13, Study: Pokémon Go Linked to 14 Car Crashes in 10 Days, http://krqe.com/2016/09/25/study-pokemon-go-linked-to-14-car-crashes-in-10-days/

  3. US News and World Report, Pokémon Go is Causing Car Accidents across America, http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/best-cars-blog/2016/07/Pokemon_Go_is_Causing_Car_Accidents_Across_America/

  4. CNN, We Now Have Proof: Pokémon Go can be Dangerously Distracting, http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/16/health/pokemon-go-distracted-driver-trnd/

  5. Medical News Today, Pokémon Go Distracts Drivers and Pedestrians, Causes Accidents, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312939.php